Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Things I DON'T throw away!

This will be an ongoing list but I'll start with this for now. I'll update as I'm reminded of other things I don't throw away and as I develop new habits.

Some may wonder why a person would go to all the trouble of saving re-usable items. I see it as a way to make money at home. If I save an item that cost me nothing or re-use an item I have already paid for then it's as if I am putting money in our pockets.  It will save me from having to purchase that item in the future. It's a small little paycheck.. so to speak. :-)  Small amounts of this and that saved over a period of time will add up.

I'm currently reading, "We had everything but money". The book is full of real life stories of people who lived during the depression and how they survived. I hope to write a book review on it when I finish. I'm finding it very helpful in this area of using it up, doing without and making do.

-  Used tinfoil. (I wash/dry it unless it had been used for meat.)
-  Vegetable plastic bags from produce section. Also the plastic wrap for the newspaper.
-  Buttons off of clothing that is too worn to pass on.
-  Worn out towels get made into rags. I MAYBE buy one roll of paper towels a year but instead use rags. Also used for the batting in potholders.
-  My grandmother saved old blankets to use as a lining in her quilts.
- Nylons that have a hole on only one leg. Cut off that leg below the dark panty line and do the same with another pair = 1 pair nylons.
- Glass jars. I use them to discard grease safely without clogging drains.
-  Rubber bands brought home from produce (ex. broccoli).
- Bread wrappers (muffins, tortilla)
- Butter wrappers. (I put these in a 'used' plastic bag and keep them near the shortening to use instead of Pam).
- Small amounts of my leftover herb tea. I have a glass pitcher in the fridge that becomes the final destination for the last bits of lukewarm tea. Just add water and I have a lovely iced herb tea. Yum! My favorite. 
- Worn out jeans are used for quilts.
- Bread heels go in the freezer to use for bread crumbs. I dry them out in the oven, then season with garlic powder and parsley and give them a whirl in the food processor.
- Cereal: I save the plastic bag to reuse. Most box mixes of any kind (cake, Rice-a-Roni, etc. can be re-used).
- Worn out T-shirts get cut down into small squares and used for 'cloth toilet paper'.
- The cardboard roll of a paper towel. I wrap my used plastic bags around the cardboard roll and then secure with a rubber band. They fit nicely in the drawer. I also use the cardboard roll to store extension cords.
- Leftover fruit. Just pop the entire banana.. peel included.. into a bag and freeze. When you get three bananas you can make banana bread or banana cake. Pieces of soft fruit such as peaches and apricots can be simmered until mushy with a little honey or sugar added and eaten as stewed fruit.  Pieces of  peaches, apricots and berries and bananas can be frozen for smoothies.
- The last bit of almond milk (it could be milk instead) in my cereal bowl. I put it in a marked container to use the next morning.
-  Leftover meat bones get frozen for future broth.
-  Leftover small bits of veggies (you could also save rice and noodles) get put in a container marked 'soup' in the freezer to use in batches of soup.
-  Sunday comics are used for children's wrapping paper.
-  Slivers of bar soap are put in a jar under the sink filled half way with water to use for hand soap later. Or can be saved to use in homemade laundry soap.
-  I save the tissue paper, bows and wrapping paper my gifts come in.
-  String from pet food, oatmeal bags, flour bags.
- The last bit of lipstick in a tube. I use a lipstick brush to use it up.
-  Meat drippings leftover from hamburger or any other meat to be used in homemade broth.  Just pop it in the freezer in a marked container for soup.  I also use a small amount (1 tsp.) on my dogs dry food to help her coat look shiny.
-  Plastic containers I purchase items in get re-used for leftovers. I mark them with masking tape each time I use them.

Do you ladies have anything you'd like to add to this list?


  1. I use glass jars to store flour and sugar, etc. I also use them to store detergents (marked so I don't mix them up) also.

    I reuse store bags so I don't have to pay 25 cents for a new one whenever I go to the grocery. That's overseas though.

  2. Great ideas! I read the book you mentioned. It was good. I like how they had a "can do" attitude. They made the most out of what they had and sought out other creative ways to get through hard times.

    ~I save those reusable glue blobs that manufacturers use to stick some labels on. They are perfect for little craft projects.

    ~Tissue boxes that have a pretty pattern can be cut to use as treat bag toppers or gift cards.

    ~I buy vinegar in bulk so I saved a pretty bottle that Arizona tea was in (got it super cheap for my boys) and now I fill it up for using for everyday.

    ~Small vitamin bottles can be used to store small amounts of paint in for children to paint with.

    ~A friend used to save prescription bottles and put her quarters in for her purse. She removed the labels and they were the perfect size.

    There are a few on your list that I'm going to start doing. Thanks for sharing your list.

    ~I buy 5lb. bags of sugar and when I pour the sugar up I carefully remove the outer bag from the brown paper liner that holds the sugar. I flatten and save them for wrapping bread gifts. They can be decorated and used for wrapping other gifts too. I make sure that all sugar is removed or it could cause a problem with ants. :0)

    ~I have used old CD packaging that holds the CD's to store spools of ribbon.

    ~I save any pieces of paper that are pretty and can be used to make a scrapped card or other paper crafts.

    ~I use sturdy cardboard rectangles that come in mailed packages. They are great for using for putting cakes on. You can wrap them in foil. They are at least a buck at the cake decorating store.


  3. Just found your blog....
    you are AMAZING!!

  4. I save most of what you do, except I don't use lipstick. I melt down small pieces of soap and make into another bar. My great grandmother lived by "use it up, wear it out, make it do or go without". We do pretty much the same thing too. Great post!!

  5. Excellent post. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Thanks for leaving a message on xanga! I will be happy to follow you here on blogspot. Looks like you covered just about everything. I can add only a few.

    christmas cards - I keep saving and meaning to use but haven't :(
    I save anything that looks like I might need it for a project for homeschooling, example - my husband redid our bathroom floor and was throwing away the flooring scraps. I dug them out of the trash can.
    We save grocery plastic bags to use in our bathroom and bedroom trash cans and for picking up dog poo for our recent addition to the family :)
    I just thought of one I should have done! Save yogurt containers to use as starter cups for starting veggie plants! Wow! I should have done that instead of buying those things! Now you have me really thinking!

    It is great to get back in touch with you :)


  7. I save old calendars for interesting wrapping paper for small gifts, and also can be made into interesting envelopes for mailing cards. I like to remake a gift card by pasting new images or decorations on a standard card--sort of "altering" them. Also nice greeting cards can be made into small gift boxes. Glass jars can make interesting/simple candle (votive) holders.

    Great ideas you have listed, thanks.

  8. I re-use old envelopes by putting a new label over the old address.
    I use cardboard tubes from toilet rolls to start my seeds and place in the garden when ready.
    Always try to plan menus ahead eg. cook potatoes for 2 meals plain boiled for one and saute for the next meal.
    Cook meals for 4 and freeze 2
    Save all cards to make new or gift tags
    Use the oven for several items and not just one

  9. I once read a Depression cookbook--great stuff in there. People sure lived differently then. I gave that cookbook to someone who collects cookbooks.

    I am saving material scraps to make into gifts for birthdays and Christmas. However, I am into de-cluttering and simplifying these days. Someone can use the buttons attached to the clothes I donate. If the clothes aren't worth donating, however, I will save interesting buttons--very small investment in space to save buttons.

    Wish you lived by me and I would give you stuff on your list.


  10. We save all plastic grocery bags, we use them to store our bread in (we bake all of our bread), we then use the bags for a trash bag in the kitchen, and in the bathrooms. We have not purchased plastic trash bags in years.
    Any yarn that is donated to me I save until I have enough to crochet a throw blanket.
    If we roast a chicken or turkey, we always boil the carcass up to make broth, I then freeze it for future use in soups, stews, and gravy.
    Christmas cards - I cut the pictures up into four or five pieces and my grandson enjoys them as a puzzle.
    Calendars - my grandsons enjoy looking at the pictures in old ones - and they can also be made into puzzles.
    Mesh bag from onions - makes a great pot scrubber and lasts forever!
    Pretty gift boxes or containers make great craft containers - one pretty box with a latch I received one christmas, it contained a nice selection of tea, now houses all of my crochet hooks. A beautifully decorated hat box, given to us filled with cookies and candies, now houses spools of thread.
    Taking starts from existing shrubs, lilacs and forsythia, and planting them elsewhere in the garden.
    Cleaning out the chicken coop and cow shed - all that good poo poo goes straight on the garden!
    Keeping an eye/ear open for FREE items - but only taking what is REALLY needed.

  11. That's a lot of great saving! One of my favorite old sayings is, "Waste not, want not."

  12. Funny you should ask about the boxes as I'm planning to do a post showing some larger ones my sister made from card stock. And I was thinking how it would be nice to do a tutorial. It will take some time but I'll try to do that ... hopefully soon! thanks.

  13. Podso: Could I ask a BIG favor? Could you let me know when you do the post on how to make small boxes out of cards? I'm not always regularly about my 'visiting'.

  14. I do most of the same with saving scraps of this and that ..soap,plastic newspaper bags, etc. I rarely buy plastic wrap any longer. I save the heavy duty plastic bags with zip tops (from baking soda to flour) and use them as outer (double) wrapper for half of my weekly bread that I bake and stick in the freezer .. makes good storage for cookies too. We use leftover coffee grounds and veggie scraps in our compost bin, meat bones are boiled a second time and the broth poured over homemade doggy food .. Here's a post showing how one turkey turned was turned into ten meals.


    we're still pulling turkey out of the freezer as needed .. the lunch meat is great.

    Nice finding your blog.

  15. Just found your blog and am now a follower. Great money saving ideas! I do most everything that has been mentioned here. I also save bits of candles. I melt them and pour them over dryer lint to make fire starters.

  16. Hi, I found my post about the raggedy throw I made. The photos might give you a good idea of how it is put together, but you should have a pattern for a first go-round. http://goodmorningmarysunshine.blogspot.com/2010/12/marvis-quilt.html

  17. I love not buying paper towels anymore! The only challenge is when hubby microwaves bacon - but I'm trying to get him to drain the cooked bacon on computer paper! And no, he won't use newspaper! LOL! Great post. :)

  18. I am loving your blog! I save and reuse Parmesan cheese containers. One thing they are great for is storing scouring powder that I make (1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup salt).

  19. Here is something I DO THROW AWAY. It is sales adds of anything but food and necessities. You know the Pennys, Sears, etc adds. You all know what I mean.
    A dear friend told me once, that if on a very tight budget you throw these away, you will not be tempted to buy things you do not need just because they look like they are good deals.
    You can get much better deals at thrift stores, and yard sales.

  20. Wow, you are my hero! What do you use the plastic newspaper wrap for? I assume you don't put food in it so I was curious! Also, what do you used the empty cereal bags for? Food? Mine never last that long without getting ripped, lol! ;)

  21. Sorry to be so ignorant. What is cloth toilet paper?
    Love your blog.

    1. Exactly what it sounds -- small scraps of cloth used instead of actual TP
      ..probably not the most hygienic practice


Thank you for your comment.